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Legal Memorandum: Standard for Summary Judgment in GA

Issue: What is the standard for summary judgment under Georgia law?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Summary judgment; Genuine issues of material fact
Jurisdiction: Georgia
Cited Cases: 322 S.E.2d 76; 481 S.E.2d 816; 491 S.E.2d 158; 498 S.E.2d 152; 405 S.E.2d 474
Cited Statutes: Ga. Code § 9-11-56(c)
Date: 04/01/2001

           To prevail on a summary judgment motion pursuant to Ga. Code § 9-11-56(c), the moving party must demonstrate that there are no genuine issues of material fact and that the undisputed facts, viewed in light most favorable to the nonmoving party, support judgment as a matter of law.  See Lau’s Corp. v. Haskins, 261 Ga. 491, 405 S.E.2d 474, 475 (1991) When the moving party is the defendant, it “has the additional burden of piercing plaintiff’s pleadings and affirmatively negating one or more essential elements of the complaint.”  Green v. Johnston Realty, Inc., 212 Ga. App. 656, 442 S.E.2d 843, 845 (1994).  A defendant may do this by demonstrating that the “documents, affidavits, depositions and other evidence in the record reveal that there is no evidence sufficient to create a jury issue on at least one essential element of plaintiff’s case.”  Id.  Only if the moving party discharges this burden does the burden of production shift to the non-moving party “to point to specific evidence giving rise to a triable issue” with respect to each challenged element of its case.  Hambrick v. B.G. Swing Games Mgmt., Inc., 267 Ga. 597, 481 S.E.2d 816, 818 (1997).

The plaintiff, as non-movant, will defeat summary judgment “by presenting any evidence which establishes a jury issue regarding that element.”  Garrett v. NationsBank, N.A. (South), 228 Ga. App. 114, 115, 491 S.E.2d 158 (1997) (emphasis in original).  In determining whether a non-moving plaintiff has […]

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